If five-term Columbia (S.C.) Mayor Bob Coble is running for a sixth term, he’s certainly not in any hurry to amass a political war chest.

Ordinarily, that might be ho-hum news for a popular incumbent, but the City of Columbia’s widely publicized financial problems have served to erode some of Coble’s popularity. Plus, the always affable “Mayor Bob” seems assured of facing his toughest challenge yet in 2010.

That’s why “Mayor Bob’s” lackluster fund-raising total is being viewed in some circles as a sign that he is not running again.

According to disclosure reports released last week, Coble has just $2,660.00 on hand – and received only two contributions during the most recent reporting period.

Here’s a look at the scorecard:


If Coble is indeed stepping down after twenty years, Columbia Attorney Steve Benjamin would be the front-runner to replace him.

A former Democratic candidate for Attorney General, Benjamin has been quietly laying the groundwork for a mayoral bid for several months now and has broad-based local – and possibly even Presidential – support.

Columbia will be hosting a high-profile “Stimulus Summit” (a.k.a.  Bureaucratic Boondoggling 101) event this weekend, so expect Coble’s status to be widely-discussed.

We’ll keep you updated if any announcements are made …

Hat tip: Q-Tip.